BEAVERCREEK, Ohio (WDTN) – A shopping center that was damaged in the Memorial Day tornadoes is working to bounce back nearly five months after the storm.
With all of the businesses at the Shoppes at Fairfield Commons back open, the strip mall is hosting a Fall Festival this weekend.
The shops were among several businesses near North Fairfield Road that sustained significant tornado damage.
“We have been coming here since it opened, and it was really devastating to pass by and see the whole mall closed,” said Tan Boston, who takes her children to swim lessons at Aqua-Tots Swim Schools, whose Beavercreek location is in the shopping center.
Aqua-Tots reopened earlier this month, according to Paul Sinopoli, the owner. Luckily, the pool area was spared, but the rest of the space sustained nearly $250,000 worth of damage, he said.
“A lot of water,” Sinopoli said. “This wall was essentially down.”
Before the tornado, the business was on track for its best year yet, Sinopoli said. Although some of his students were able to go to his Springboro location during repairs, business at the Beavercreek pool is down about 50 percent compared to this time last year, he added.
“I’ve been surprised actually with the number of people who have already called and come back,” Sinopoli said. “A whole bunch of people coming back in November.”
On Saturday, the Shoppes at Fairfield Commons is hosting a Fall Festival, an event that has grown from a festival previously organized by Aqua-Tots.
Sinopoli and others told 2 NEWS they remain optimistic about the shopping center’s future.
“There’s lots of shops around here, lots of reasons for people to come,” Boston said.
“I know it’ll come back,” Sinopoli said. “It’s just going to take a little bit of time.”
The Fall Festival is set for Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will include food trucks, games and raffle prizes, according to organizers.